Australian Indie Artist KESMAR Releases Summery Debut Album ‘Always Chasing Rainbows’
May 12, 2023 BY George Chammas
Today, Australian songwriter and producer KESMAR (aka Nathan Hawes) is proud to release his debut album ALWAYS CHASING RAINBOWS via Nettwerk. The 8-song effort is chock full of summery, tight back beats, tasty guitar licks, and breezy choruses. The warm glow of vintage keyboards leaves each song in the haze of mellow gold. Listen to ALWAYS CHASING RAINBOWS on all digital retailers (here).
KESMAR explains: “My album reflects heavily on the feeling myself but many other creatives have is that there is always something better, something to chase. I think that’s why when you have such a deep love for something you’ll always pursue it forever, and a big driving factor in that can be ‘What is next’…In my case it’s always chasing ‘The perfect song’ and having the feeling of never being truly satisfied or feel that gratification. But I don’t see it in a negative light, its’ a drive and passion to continually evolve and learn.”
KESMAR’s ALWAYS CHASING RAINBOWS is a bold and inviting new step for Sydney-based musician Nathan Hawes, showcasing an evolution in sound and songwriting that comes with immense personal growth as an artist. There’s a classic feel to these eight songs, with gorgeous melodies steeped in the soft-hued sounds of the 1970s—but ALWAYS CHASING RAINBOWS also sounds equally in step with Hawes’ contemporaries, cementing him as an exciting new voice in modern pop music.
This is the latest move from the already-accomplished Hawes, who took up guitar at a young age and was drawn to music since he was able to sing. After he adopted KESMAR as his recording moniker, Hawes dove deep into the sphere of self-production, gaining tons of analog studio know-how while falling in love with the golden-hued pop-rock he was raised on. “I’m such a sponge—when I find something, I love to learn everything about it,” he says, and after linking up with Tobias Priddle (“He’s the one who taught me how to put the pieces of the puzzle together”) his first EP as KESMAR, Up to You, saw release in 2019.
After releasing his dynamic second EP Forever Holiday in 2021, Hawes had planned on recording ALWAYS CHASING RAINBOWS with Priddle — but when Australia went under a second lockdown, he decided to take a different and more hands-on route. “I’d stay up all night and read interviews of how classic albums were recorded, and then I’d take those ideas into the studio,” he recalls while discussing the road to self-producing the record. “I started getting closer to the sound that I’d heard in my head all these years.”
An integral element of bringing those songs to life is Hawes’ analog approach to recording, as he wields musical technologies from the past to craft his utterly timeless sound. “My process of recording and recording on tape is something I practice almost daily at home,” he explains. “It’s a constant cycle — an incredibly simple way of recording that took me many months to learn — but I love the performance element of recording to tape. As I’m recording and playing all of the instruments myself, the tape machine is like a second person making me commit to my own ideas.”
And the album title itself draws from that strong sense of commitment that drives Hawes in his musical pursuits. “It’s about that feeling of being constantly dissatisfied, in a good way,” he explains. “Artists are always chasing something else, and for me it’s that song that captures a feeling that I hope to have forever.” While drawing from a wide range of influences from Jeff Lynne, Steely Dan, and the Beach Boys to cultishly beloved Scottish acts like Chris Rainbow and Pilot, Hawes struck out to “make something that was very organic-sounding—very real and raw. In an era where music can sound so perfect, I wanted to make everything sound as imperfect as I could.”
Picking up where Forever Holiday’s warm, impeccably produced tunes left off, ALWAYS CHASING RAINBOWS draws the listener in immediately with a heavenly opening title track featuring vocals from Flore Beneguigui of French disco-pop band L’Imperatrice.
“It’s the most true and honest music that I’ve made, because it’s been just me,” Hawes continues while discussing the overall aim of ALWAYS CHASING RAINBOWS, as well as how excited he is for his thrilling new direction to reach the general public. “I wanted to get the best out of me as an artist. Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve wanted to make this sort of music for a long time, and I can’t wait for them to hear it.”
Media Praise for KESMAR:
“The swinging backbeat and buoyant piano lines are replete with effortless charm, bound together by the warm organic feel of the analog production style. Meanwhile, Hawes’ melodies and immensely catchy chorus add an undeniable pop element.”
– Under the Radar
“Nathan Hawes, better known as KESMAR, is bringing a fresh sound to modern pop music. The Australian native maintains a vintage style with his production, sonically influenced by music from the 1970s.”
– Tower Records’ Pulse! Mag
“KESMAR is able to import detail into his production style and give his audience a dreamy, lush song with breezy lyrics to create an effortless feeling like you’re floating on a velvety cloud in the middle of an open field — in the ’70s, of course.”
– The Luna Collective
“Gentle yet anthemic, with a hazy feel that strikes a balance between yacht rock and DIY bedroom pop… a vibrant summer mood, rooted in his signature sound of classic 70s-inspired artistry.”
“…a nostalgic spin on indie-pop…[The] Australian multi-instrumentalist holds an obvious admiration for the classics…”
– Ramble Magazine
1. Always Chasing Rainbows (ft. Flore Benguigui)
2. Day by Day
3. Out Of Luck
4. Change My Name
5. Is It You I Miss
6. Dreaming About You
7. Is It Me Or Is It Love
8. Shine A Light